Letter: Narrow-minded, morally censorious depiction of single life

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The Independent Online
From Ms Kate Quill

Sir: Surprising, and a tad ironic, to read such a morally censorious and narrow-minded interpretation of the single life by Angela Lambert (Section Two: "Will you be lonesome tonight?", 19 October). With a subject like this it must be very tempting to resort to stereotypes culled from TV commercials, but Ms Lambert's argument simply sounded as hollow and blinkered as the selfish, spiritually unconscious twentysomethings she was so keen to depict.

I don't deny the problems of the generation of young people who work hard and live alone. I'm sure many of them do suffer from "aching loneliness", and may also feel "spiritually dislocated". I do, however, object to the assumption that the single life is driven by nothing more than a pathological fear of commitment, self-obsession, ruthless ambition and spiritual emptiness. Coupledom may bring love, sex and contentment. It can also bring lethargy, apathy, smug suburban lifestyles and monumentally selfish, unquestioning values. And, let's be honest, betrayal in the average marriage is not exactly uncommon, is it? I don't think any single person need take a "good example" from the average spouse.

The fact is that people are, or are not, good, kind, caring, responsible personalities with a sense of what really matters in life. Whether they are in a couple or not is irrelevant. Ms Lambert's article served only to fuel the cliched fears of the lonely - the single life means nothing, produces nothing, and is, itself, the result of a selfish, unloving personality devoted entirely to its own wants. What utter tosh - and as if this didn't describe countless husbands and wives we have all known? But, for the single person who may long for company, what a jolly good old lie it continues to be.

To anyone sitting alone reading this with a Marks & Spencer dinner for one, just count your blessings. Being lonely is indeed a horrible and destructive thing. But it's better to be lonely alone than lonely in a loveless relationship, which is the sort that aches most of all.

Yours faithfully,

Kate Quill

London, W14

20 October